Two weeks have passed since the start of Minnesota Twins’ 2014 season. Coming off of three straight seasons of losing over 90 games a season, the Twins are trying to turn things around.
During the off-season, the Twins made some interesting moves to help improve their team. The most notable moves the Twins made were directed towards their starting pitching rotation. According to SBNation, the Twins signed free agent Ricky Nolasco to a four-year contract worth $49 million. The Twins also signed former New York Yankee Pitcher Phil Hughes to a three-year contract worth $24 million.
In addition to signing Nolasco and Hughes, the Twins also signed Catcher Kurt Suzuki after moving Minnesota Twins’ biggest player Joe Mauer from catcher to first base in order to avoid some injuries associated with his former position. The Twins also signed former Twins Jason Bartlett and Jason Kubel to minor league contracts, but both Bartlett and Kubel made the Twins’ active roster during training camp. Bartlett has since retired, however, when a rehab assignment following an ankle injury wasn’t as effective as he had hoped it would be.
The Twins also addressed the manager position after re-signing Ron Gardenhire to a two-year contract, according to CBS Sports.
It’s easy to see that the Twins have been busy this off-season in preparation for the 2014 season. After two weeks of baseball, the big question is have the Minnesota Twins improved from last year’s team? Or, are the 2014 Minnesota Twins worse than last year’s team?
Right now, this question is difficult to answer fully, however the first couple weeks have helped me, as a fan, see what we can expect from the Twins this year.
First, the pitching is still in shambles. The newly acquired pitchers, Nolasco and Hughes, have been nothing spectacular since the start of the season. Both pitchers have had some moments of success, but their performance has been disappointing. According to the Minnesota Twins official website, both Nolasco and Hughes have an ERA above 6.0. Additionally, both pitchers have only won one game.
The Twins also re-signed starting pitchers Kevin Correia and Mike Pelfrey, who have been disappointing this season. Pelfrey and Correia both have a high ERA like Nolasco and Hughes, but have failed to win any games so far this season. The bright spot in the Twins’ rotation has been second-year veteran, Kyle Gibson. Gibson won his first three starts and posted a 0.93 ERA. Gibson has made the most of the games he’s played in so far this season.
It’s clear that the Twins have not made any significant improvements to the rotation other than calling Gibson up to the majors at the start of the season rather than before the All Star Break. It would appear that Correia and Pelfrey are simply placeholders for Twins pitching prospects Alex Meyer and Trevor May. When those two are called up to the majors someday, Twins fans are hopeful that the team will finally turn the corner and start to find the success they had in previous years.
The area that the Twins have shown the most significant improvement in this year is their offense. While it remains unclear if this surge of offense is merely a great streak of hitting or something to expect from the everyday roster, the Twins have had success hitting the ball and scoring runs so far this season.
One of the biggest surprises has been Twin’s utility player Chris Colabello. Colabello has seen a lot of time as the designated hitter, but he’s also played first base and right field. Colabello was called up towards the end of the Twins’ 2013 season and didn’t play particularly well during his time in the majors. This year has been a different story as Colabello has been the superstar on the Twins’ roster with his ability to get hits when it matters most. After two weeks of play, Colabello had 20 RBIs and nine doubles.
Colabello hasn’t been the only big offensive player for the Twins so far. Kubel has enjoyed much success since returning to the Twins. Third baseman Trevor Plouffe has also enjoyed a great start this season and has contributed significantly to the Twins’ offense. Mauer has not been hitting as well so far this year and has struck out more than in recent years, but the overall lineup has done well.
So, are the Twins better or worse? Offensively, they are better. Their pitching hasn’t been spectacular, but I wouldn’t say it’s been worse so far than last year’s pitching rotation. Pitching must improve in order for the Twins to be considered a contender in Major League Baseball.